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Fate Grand Order Zettai Majuu Sensen Babylonia – 06 »« Fate/Grand Order: Zettai Majuu Sensen Babylonia – 04

Fate/Grand Order: Zettai Majuu Sensen Babylonia – 05

「ギルガメッシュ紀行」 (Girugamesshu Kikou)
“Gilgamesh’s Journey”

J.R.R. Tolkiens’s novel The Hobbit is a story of a band of dwarves (and one hobbit) going off on an adventure to steal their treasure back from a dragon. The leader of that band was an enormously important dwarf named Thorin Oakenshield. But even though Thorin was an enormously important dwarf indeed, a hero to his people and an uncrowned king, he is first introduced to us as the bottom of a pile of dwarves who had fallen over at doorway of the titular hobbit, Bilbo. He goes through the novel much like this, as a rather haughty dwarf who is nonetheless subjected to indignity after indignity. Partly this is because The Hobbit was a children’s bedtime story and the tribulations of Thorin was a comedic way to demonstrate the tribulations of his people. But subjecting Thorin to a bit of the comic relief treatment also brought him down to earth, where he needed to be at least for a while to build a bond with Bilbo, a very down-to-earth hobbit, and also with his fellow dwarves, who didn’t follow Thorin just because of his enormous importance but because they were kith and kin.

Peter Jackson’s Hobbit movies, though, allowed Thorin to keep his dignity. It was, after all, supposed to be a much more serious take on The Hobbit, in the style of The Lord of the Rings, and so Thorin had to be a much more serious character. Obviously a put-upon dwarf just wouldn’t do; they wanted another Aragorn and so Thorin had to be enormously important all the time and certainly not participate in any dwarf-piles. The result was that Thorin became a more impressive character and the movies were more impressive in turn, but I couldn’t help but feel that something was lost for it. A more aloof dwarf is also a less empathetic one. Even Aragorn had to do time as Strider. And the sense of camaraderie between the adventuring party, central to the Hobbit tale, was lessened. Perhaps they just didn’t have time to develop these relationships. Busy with their dwarf-elf love triangle. Priorities.

We’re not here to critique disappointing movie trilogies though. This is about Gilgamesh. Around this time in the Fate/Grand Order game King Gilgamesh became something of a comic relief character. This was something of a silly juncture in the story, still (we’ve just said goodbye to Jaguarman, after all) and Gilgamesh gets to participate this time. And yes, even though he is an enormously important king he is made to suffer indignities, and I feel this was good for him. Goldie has spent too much time as a power-mad megalomaniac and needed to come down a bit. In Babylonia he needs to make friends and play nice(r). Sure, yes, we want him to look the good king but infallibility isn’t interesting so it wouldn’t hurt for Gil to clown around a bit.

Like the Hobbit movies, though, it doesn’t seem this Babylonia anime has time for comedy. Instead, the trip to the observatory has been used for our by now familiar travelling buddies: exposition and flashbacks! We’ve already telegraphed that this would happen and these info sessions are undoubtedly necessary in some form, but unfortunately more sitting and talking is not particularly engaging, especially when the dialogue is not exactly sharp. Of course, the highlight of the episode is the fight between Gil and Edward Elric fake!Enkidu. While that was super shiny it was entirely serious Gil being serious and doesn’t really serve to open his character.

I know I more or less approved of the anime giving Jaguarman plenty of serious action last week, but that was a character who needed to be portrayed more seriously, given the context. Gil, I feel, had the opposite problem. As such I feel that this episode didn’t do as much for his character as it could have, and was more focused on providing development for fake!Enkidu. That’s all well and good and completely important, but I think we would have been served by seeing more of the Gil who we could imagine goofing off with his green-haired friend in his past, who now goofs off with the Chaldea crew and can be considered an initiated member of this ragtag save-the-world crew. It goes to show that comic relief isn’t just for levity; there’s character in it as well.

November 3, 2019 at 12:02 am
16 comments »
  • November 3, 2019 at 1:33 amSuicuneSol

    Actually, the problem I’m starting to have is with Mash and her Master. It’s like the world’s longest date. They’re peas in a pod, and they’re doing nothing but spending romantic times with each other. Now they’re on the beach talking about the past.

    I mean, if you’re the one on the date, that’s one thing. But watching someone else date their waifu for 20 episodes is not compelling.

    • November 3, 2019 at 2:04 amMistic

      As someone who’s just started playing the game, it feels like I’m for a very long run with those two XD

      It doesn’t help that Ritsuka Fujimaru is a blank slate protagonist. In this series, he’s arguably the least interesting character. Apart from tiny bits like the previous episode’s flashbacks, he’s bland and lacks personality. And before someone says “well, that’s a VN protagonist for you”, Shiro had more personality in Fate/stay night.

      All in all, I think I like the female version from Learning with Manga! better. Yes, she’s a psychopathic womanchild that treats others like garbage or expendable human resources, but at least she has a personality of her own.

      • November 3, 2019 at 8:25 pmtheirs

        If this is a follow-up to the Grand Order anime a few years ago, I think they killed her off. Would’ve been fun seeing her as the protagonist though.

      • November 3, 2019 at 9:38 pmGreed

        you just started the game? Seriously? You missed a lot, especially the welfare Servants.

  • November 3, 2019 at 1:52 amMistic

    I know I more or less approved of the anime giving Jaguarman plenty of serious action last week, but that was a character who needed to be portrayed more seriously, given the context. Gil, I feel, had the opposite problem.

    This, I think, might be the result of different expectations between game players and anime-only viewers like me (I’ve just started playing it, because I really want to know the previous context). While Jaguarman might have been given more “serious action” from a player’s perspective, for me her whole comic demeanor was still a jarring tone shift that stuck out like a sore thumb. Meanwhile, I never expected Gilgamesh to act as comic relief, so I wasn’t disappointed that he acted serious and dignified.

    All in all, it seems that the anime is adapting out the comedic interludes and chosen to go for a “This is Serious Business” approach. In that regard, I think it might be trying to emulate other serious adaptations of Fate material, mainly Ufotable’s works. Which also explains why they’ve invested so much in the animation quality (the bar Unlimited Blade Works and Heaven’s Feel set was very high).

    That said, in hindsight, I think a bit more coemdy wouldn’t have hurt, if only because the first half of the episode was calm and peaceful, and had time for it. Of course, when Fake!Enkidu appears, that changes (given that this Enkidu seems to have memories of his adventures with Gil, I get the feeling that he might have been created using his real body, or spirit, or memories, or perhaps he’s bing possessed, and that’s probably going to play a big part in the future).

    By the way, the board game the children were playing? That’s a real Sumerian game. I love this series.

    • November 3, 2019 at 3:28 amPasserby

      In the game Jaguarman was not really serious action either, unfortunately. You do fight her but she’s not even really a boss encounter, unlike the one-sided stomp she delivered in the anime. I approved of what they did with her because there was some attempt to pull her up to the baseline tone of the anime. She was even sillier in-game.

      As for Gil, though, I never much liked Archer!Gil, and a big part of what turned me around on King!Gil was that he was a more amusing character overall. He bickered with Ishtar, laughed himself into stitches, and, perhaps most importantly, was overly proud of his knowledge of game mechanics and suffered a bruising to his ego from the game itself.

      The comic relief may also disguise the fact that very little actually happens outside of action sets. As you note, the first half was calm and peaceful, but calm and peace doesn’t really confer how serious the situation is supposed to be. As SuicuneSol notes above Mash and Ritsuka flirting their way across Mesopotamia may not exactly be what one envisions a mission to prevent the extinction of mankind (though I should note the plot does pick up in time).

      • November 3, 2019 at 4:48 amMistic

        The comic relief may also disguise the fact that very little actually happens outside of action sets. As you note, the first half was calm and peaceful, but calm and peace doesn’t really confer how serious the situation is supposed to be. As SuicuneSol notes above Mash and Ritsuka flirting their way across Mesopotamia may not exactly be what one envisions a mission to prevent the extinction of mankind (though I should note the plot does pick up in time).

        True enough, it feels a bit weird that their stay in Uruk so far has felt almost like a vacation, despite the background being Attack-on-Titan levels of bleak: the alliance of goddesses has wiped out almost all humanity and Uruk’s territory is being besieged by monsters, yet the protagonists don’t seem to be in a hurry.

        The fight between Enkidu and Gilgamesh in this episode was a good way to raise the stakes. So far, the series has shown that Mash and Ritsuka are outclassed by divine fighters. Even Gilgamesh would have lost if not for Enkidu’s hesitation.

        I get that their first goal was to earn Gil’s trust, but Chaldea really needs to come up with a plan to deal with the power imbalance if they want to win (somehow, I doubt they’ll rely on the “let’s summon an overpowered support character to do the fight for us” game mechanic).

      • November 3, 2019 at 2:36 pmKristian64

        I do find it odd that in this adaptation they are not using any summoned servants from chaldea in the battle scenes. I mean, I didn’t expect them to give us game tun based RPG-like strategies, but I figured some of the servants that do bond and form contracts at the end of each previous chapters with the crew Show Spoiler ▼

        could make brief appearances. Soloing with mash and story servants only is gonna make any battle challenging.
        Then again this Kind of validates the idea That we do have different expectations for what we want to see.

      • November 4, 2019 at 4:09 amMistic

        @Kristian64
        Forgive me if I’m wrong (as I said, I’ve just started the game), but doesn’t Grand Order go through the events ignoring the other summoned servants? As in “ok, Mash is there, guest star party members like Caster Cu Chulainn are also part of the plot, but we’ll ignore those other guys you summoned to battle”. Gameplay and story segregation, basically.

        I mean, I’m pretty curious because I’ve just summoned a certain purple-haired, scythe-armed loli (this was fate! XD), and it’s going to be a bit funny to go into Babylonia and watch the scenes if they don’t address the elephant in the room.

        “Hello, my name is Ana”.

        “No, no, I’m pretty sure your name isn’t Ana, because I have in my line-up a girl that looks exactly like you and she gave me a different name”.

  • November 3, 2019 at 7:35 pmGreed

    https://randomc.net/image/Fate%20Grand%20Order/Fate%20Grand%20Order%20Zettai%20Majuu%20Sensen%20Babylonia%20-%2005%20-%20Large%2025.jpg
    Please ufotable, animate Fate/Strange fake and make an even more awesome fight scene.

    https://randomc.net/image/Fate%20Grand%20Order/Fate%20Grand%20Order%20Zettai%20Majuu%20Sensen%20Babylonia%20-%2005%20-%20Large%2027.jpg
    This has been bothering me but can Gilgamesh, like how Rin can fire a Gandr, fire an energy blast by himself? Or, like Giles de Rais, Gilgamesh doesn’t truly have magic circuits and mostly rely on mystic codes to do the magical job for him? I don’t understand how mystic codes work but, based on the details with Salome and the head of John the Baptist, you don’t need magic circuits to use mystic codes. And I don’t know if you need to be a real Magus, to summon Servants, but because Gilgamesh is just pulling mystic items from his vault then I assume he is powerless without any item; he doesn’t have to do any chant like how Emiya needs to chant for Unlimited Blade Works. I at least expect maybe Gilgamesh using TRUE MAGIC. Who else, besides Zelretch, can use True Magic? Is it really that hard to learn and obtain? I heard during the Age of the Gods, True Magic was common.

    On the side note, Gilgamesh here is MUCH better compared to his Unlimited Blade Works version; I feel his Caster version would be disgusted in what Gilgamesh is willing to do to little girls.
    i think the Caster version may kick his lazy archer version for excessively drinking wine while lying on the couch.

    I am amazed they mentioned the Persian Gulf since I doubt that wasn’t the name of the area in Gil’s time.

    • November 4, 2019 at 4:27 amMistic

      My reply to you has appeared below. As I always say, this site really needs an “edit comment” feature :(

    • November 10, 2019 at 12:03 amSatan

      Ufotable has nothing to do with Fate Go.

  • November 3, 2019 at 8:21 pmtheirs

    Review ruined the episode for me.

    This is about Gilgamesh. Around this time in the Fate/Grand Order game King Gilgamesh became something of a comic relief character. This was something of a silly juncture in the story, still (we’ve just said goodbye to Jaguarman, after all) and Gilgamesh gets to participate this time. And yes, even though he is an enormously important king he is made to suffer indignities, and I feel this was good for him.

    I really want to see that. XD
    It’s rare seeing him like that, even those official joke games hardly take him down several notches.

  • November 4, 2019 at 4:26 amMistic

    I am amazed they mentioned the Persian Gulf since I doubt that wasn’t the name of the area in Gil’s time.

    But did Gilgamesh (or other Sumerian characters) use that name, or it was Ritsuka and Mash and the people from Chaldea? If it’s the latter, it would make sense. If anything, it’s more strange for Gilgamesh to use the name “Zagros” for the mountain range, although, since the etymology of that one remains obscure, it might have a pass. Not to mention the use of Akkadian names (such as Ishtar) in the Sumerian era.

    Of course, it all could be translation convention: which language are they speaking at Uruk, I wonder?

    As for the magic, doesn’t Gilgamesh have a grail of his own? Perhaps he gets his magic power from it?

    • November 4, 2019 at 5:57 amiRawrzz

      Caster Gil fights pretty much like his Archer counterpart.

      Show Spoiler ▼

  • November 4, 2019 at 9:50 pmMami

    Yeah this echoes my thoughts well. This was the part of the game I went from telling Gil “fuck off” through my screen to the beginning of my tsundere routine with his character. I like idiots, absolute morons, so a dignified Gil bores me, especially since they cut all the other scenes that showed how much he obviously wanted to skip out from his royal duties. The scene were Ritsuka and Mash tell him stories was the biggest disappointment since it felt like it was trying to embody the “We tell Gil our amusing adventures” that was cut prior except nothing being told was actually amusing so characters laughing and saying how funny the situation was just felt like going through the motions (so I guess its fitting Gil called their stories boring in the end)

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